Johannesburg - A Free State dairy has been instructed to exhume and incinerate 30 cattle it buried near a stream, causing a serious pollution threat, the water affairs ministry said on Sunday.
"I'm very angry about this and heads will roll," Minister Edna Molewa said in a statement.
Members of the public complained to the ministry after the Estina Dairy in Vrede dumped cattle carcasses into a mass grave on the banks of a river that runs into the Atlas Dam.
The department's blue scorpions found the cattle had been buried about two meters from the stream. The dairy's manager told the blue scorpions that the cattle had fallen ill and died. The cause of their illness was apparently not known.
The dairy apparently left the grave open for weeks and the subsequent stench prompted members of the public to phone the department. The dairy allegedly only covered the grave later.
"Consequently, we are investigating the dairy for operating without a water-use licence which should be issued by our department in terms of the National Water Act," said Molewa.
"We are also considering laying charges for dumping carcasses next to the river in violation of the act and the National Environmental Management Act.
"If it means closing down the company, so be it", Molewa said.